Locum appraisal payment cut 'unacceptable', says BMA

GP leaders have condemned the 'grossly unfair' decision by NHS England to scrap direct payments to locums undergoing appraisal.

Dr Vicky Weeks: locum pay cut 'unacceptable'
Dr Vicky Weeks: locum pay cut 'unacceptable'

A letter to NHS England responsible officers from its deputy medical director, Dr Mike Bewick, said the payments were introduced to facilitate engagement with the appraisal system, but that they could ‘no longer be supported’.

BMA sessional GP subcommittee chairwoman, Dr Vicky Weeks, said payments had already stopped in some areas. She called the situation ‘completely unacceptable’.

She said: ‘The BMA has repeatedly told NHS England that locums should not be financially penalised for taking part in appraisal given that the time commitment involved in preparing for appraisal and the appraisal interview itself mean time out of work for locum GPs.

‘This comes at a time when changes to responsibility for paying locum employer’s pension contributions could leave locums further out of pocket.’

She added: 'We will be writing to NHS England urgently about this matter and telling them they need to reconsider a policy which is grossly unfair to hardworking locum GPs who are already under financial pressure.'

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter has written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt about the withdrawal of payment of locum pension superannuation by NHS England. He said the BMA was already aware of dozens of cases of locums having their fees cut because practice funding is insufficient to cover the cost of employer pension contributions.

Dr Porter called on the health secretary to hand back responsibility for locum superannuation payments to NHS England's local area teams.

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